Royal tour: Spanish castles

Royal tour: Spanish castles

Joining the German tour, Spanish castles will offer something to talk about thanks to the fact that they are one of Europe’s oldest legacies. Conquerors and war enthusiasts built these places, most of them with a military purpose, yet they embellish Spain’s landscapes rising as proof of the country’s history.

Naming them all would turn this into a never-ending list; for that reason, here we include some of the most representative ones in the peninsula.

Bellver Castle, Majorca

Built in the 14th century, the castle was used for residential purposes by Kings James II (who had it built), Sancho, and James III of Majorca. The work was carried out by architect Pere Salvà and today serves as the History Museum in the city of Palma.

In its round design (unique in Spain) and Gothic style we can appreciate several aspects of the building, like the wall, the courtyard, the attached towers, and the tribute tower.

Fun fact: it also served as shelter for King John of Aragon; here he hid from the plague in 1394 .

Butrón Castle, Biscay 

Located in Biscay, in Gatika, on top of the rocks and surrounded by woods, the history of this edification begins in the Middle Ages. Since the 16th century, the place was the setting of continuous battles between the two sides of the Bizkaia nobility.

Butrón was not always the castle that stands today, in its early days it was a tower-house, until the 19th century, when architect and marquis of Cubas reformed it to take its current appearance.

With a Germanic style, it has some similarities with Bavarian castles, moving away from the design prototype characteristic of the region. Butrón is a true architectural landscape that borders on fantasy.  

Ampudia Castle, Palencia 

The Castilian manorial castle is par excellence one of the examples that offer in full detail what the Spanish constructions of the time were like, boasting one of the most traditional watchtowers (popular within military architecture, a small tower that served as protection for sentinels), and standing out for the elegance it provides for the building.

It is positioned over a trapezoidal base with towers on the corners. In addition to its offensive character, it was also residential and after it came the Gothic castle from the 15th and 16th centuries as a particular category among manorial castles.

Castle of La Mota, Valladolid

This castle underwent a long transformation, in which King John II of Castile and his son Henry IV intervened, through the construction of the building inside the fortress and the tribute tower. The Catholic kings also participated in some reformations and built the defensive barrier; thanks to this, they had one of the best artillery parks that existed in the Europe of the time, under their power.

The construction of the castle falls under the model known as the Valladolid School, due to its strong regional style and thanks to the use of red bricks and rocks from the area for some details.

The castle features a trapezoidal base that divides into two facilities; the first one is low and has cubes on the angles and at the center of each side, the second is more solid and features walls that rise high, fortified towers in the bevels, and stands out for its tribute tower.

Belmonte Castle, Cuenca

With a Renaissance background, the outside of the castle is walled and pentagonal, the access door leads to a Gothic image. The base of the castle stands out since its construction was made on an equilateral triangle.

This castle is filled with information and characters that changed the course of history. The building known today was established in 1465 and from then on belonged to the same family, Eugenia de Montijo (one of the owners) became empress of France when she married Napoleon III, the countess had the place reformed and thanks to that, it features some French details.

Even though the castle is private, it can be visited through a reservation and during the months of May and June, it offers Journeys of Historical Recreation at the Castle, where the life of the time is recreated, these are carried out by specialists in the era who employ only real objects from the time.

Magdalena Palace

The Victorian garden-house is one of the most emblematic buildings in the city of Santander. Made of stonemasonry from the locality of Cueto and covered in slate, its base is rectangular, the wide basement eliminates contact between the outside and the inside and it features four levels: basement, ground floor, main floor, attic, and garret.

Its construction began in 1909, when architect Daniel Sierra won the project’s bid. King Alfonso XIII used the place as his summerhouse from 1913 to 1930, the furniture was not fixed and each spring they brought in new pieces, so the decoration was always different.